Around 50 million Americans experience acne outbreaks every year, but surprisingly few of them realize that acne is actually a broad term that describes many conditions. They vary not just in size and severity, but also in responsiveness to different acne treatments. Read on to find out about seven of the most common types of acne.
Blackheads and Whiteheads
Blackheads and whiteheads are two of the most innocuous forms of acne vulgaris or common acne. They’re caused by clogged pores and occur most frequently on the face, neck, chest, and back. As their names imply, whiteheads appear as white bumps or spots, while blackheads appear as black spots due to sebum oxidization on the surface of the skin.
The best way to treat blackheads and whiteheads is to exfoliate gently and use clay masks. Those with exceptionally oily skin may also benefit from applying topical retinoid creams. There’s usually no need to visit a dermatologist for the treatment of common blackheads and whiteheads.
Identifying and Treating Papules
While blackheads and whiteheads are more annoying than anything, papules can be quite painful. These inflamed lesions often appear as red, sensitive bumps, and getting rid of them requires specialized care. Find out about products designed to treat papules and other bumps by visiting reneerouleau.com.
Identifying and Treating Pustules
Pustules are also inflamed lesions but they are different in appearance. Unlike papules, they are pus-filled, which gives them a white or yellow appearance. Like papules, though, they can be quite sensitive and painful.
It’s never wise to extract the pus from pustules, no matter how tempting it may be. This can lead to acne scarring.
Nodules are a type of acne lesion that form beneath the skin. They’re hard to the touch and are usually between one and two centimeters wide. They don’t generally contain pus and can be quite painful.
Even though they form beneath the skin, nodules can be treated using topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It’s always best to see a dermatologist get a prescription for recurrent nodules, as prescription-strength medications are more effective against this type of acne than over-the-counter solutions.
Cystic acne is a particularly severe form of acne in which inflamed, pus-filled cysts form beneath the skin. It can be treated using over-the-counter or prescription products. As with pustules, it’s important never to attempt to pop cystic acne, as doing so will only cause more pain, inflammation, and scarring.
The types of acne described above all fall under the purview of acne vulgaris. Acne fulminans is a less-common condition that primarily affects adolescent males. It is characterized by nodular acne, which is often accompanied by joint pain and other health issues. Acne fulminans needs to be treated by a professional dermatologist.
Acne mechanica occurs due to friction, heat, or pressure. It often appears as a combination of small bumps and inflamed lesions and is most commonly seen in athletes.
The Bottom Line
The first step toward coming up with an effective plan for treating acne is to identify its type. Many consumers struggle with multiple forms of acne, but most of them can be treated safely at home. Just make sure to buy and use the right products for each type of lesion, nodule, or pustule and establish a consistent skincare routine for best effects.